Sam Kinnison may claim an address in Melbourne, Australia, but from the moment Camilla Carter walks into first-period English, he might as well live in outer space.
The impossibly cool English transfer student is Bowen Lakes Secondary’s own “statistical anomaly,” breezing back and forth between the upper echelons of the “A-group” royalty and Sam and his friends at the very bottom of the social pecking order. And for some inexplicable reason, she actually seems to prefer hanging out with Sam. Kudos to the publisher for resisting the temptation to Americanize Sam’s story and for allowing his brilliant and uniquely Australian humor to shine through. There’s just something especially delicious about Sam’s description of the king of the jocks (otherwise known as the “Assorted Vessels of Wank”) as being a “pus-filled tumor on the arse of my life.” Though a secondary storyline about Sam’s gay best friend flounders, leaving his oft-referred-to sexuality feeling a bit gratuitous, there’s much to enjoy in the budding relationship between Camilla and Sam. As both kids struggle with issues on the homefront, they find a genuine ease and comfort with one another that make them an unlikely couple worth rooting for.
Much like a John Hughes movie, this is a humorous, heartfelt and angst-y romance with the potential to break the gender barrier. (Fiction. 14 & up)